Elections aren't usually within the purview of Philadelphia's city controller, but the fiscal watchdog wants to know why so many city voters had to cast paper, provisional ballots earlier this month.

"What was of greatest concern was the number of reports coming in of people who say they have been voting for years at the same location and, this year, their name was not in the poll book," said City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

He explains that the review is necessary "because there are a lot of reports that the election was mishandled and that twice as many people had to vote by provisional ballots as before."

A matter of convenience

Butkovitz says he is the only one who can do the review easily.

"We have jurisdiction to do audits of all city agencies we do performance audits of the fire department, L&I and every city department," he said. "The only other idea I have heard is that the city commissioners, about whom people are complaining, maybe should do a self-investigation.

"The mayor has proposed an audit but he doesn't have jurisdiction over the commissioner's office."

Butkovitz says he isn't sure how much time the review will take to complete.